Vedanta ramps up oxygen supplies amid surge in COVID-19 cases

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New Delhi, Apr 22 (PTI) Vedanta Group on Thursday said it has aligned with the government initiatives to supplement its efforts in tackling the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Group companies Hindustan Zinc Ltd (HZL) and ESL have stepped in to augment oxygen supplies to COVID-19 patients as part of its Vedanta Cares initiative, the firm said in a statement.

Sterlite Copper, which has one of the largest oxygen facilities in the country at Tuticorin, has reached out to the Tamil Nadu government and Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan with its offer to help, seeking approval to operate its 1,000 tonnes per day oxygen plant to meet the rising demand, the statement said.

The company has also filed a petition outlining its offer to help in the Supreme Court in view of the legal proceedings.

HZL has supplied 1,500 litres of industrial oxygen to the Udaipur health administration. The company transported a 1,000-litre liquid oxygen tanker from its industrial oxygen plant at Rajpura Dariba Complex, which has dedicated 100 per cent of its monthly production of oxygen to hospitals.

The company said it is currently supplying five tonne (100 per cent of liquid oxygen capacity) of medical oxygen per day. 'The company is also in the process of increasing it by another 2-3 tonne a day.' HZL is supplying industrial oxygen, which will undergo a clinical procedure to be used for medical treatment.

ESL, the Vedanta group's steel maker, has registered its plant near Bokaro for liquid medical oxygen (LMO). ESL has committed to supplying up to 10 MT of oxygen daily, based on the steel ministry's requirement.

Meanwhile, in a bid to support the local communities at a time when there is a sharp surge in coronavirus infections, Vedanta is providing hospital care and medical facilities in every location where it operates. The company has vaccinated over 5,000 employees and family members across the group.

'At Vedanta, we have been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. Now that the country is facing an acute shortage of medical oxygen, our businesses are doing all that is possible to ramp up supplies,' Vedanta Group CEO Sunil Duggal said.

He added that HZL and ESL have already started supplying oxygen for COVID-19 patients, while Sterlite Copper has sought approval for supplying 1,000 tonne per day of oxygen from the Tuticorin plant.

We are working with local administration to provide medical facilities, our hospitals are managing COVID-10 patients and our medical team is organising vaccination for our employees and local communities,' Vedanta Group CEO Sunil Duggal said.

At the 170-bed cancer hospital Balco Medical Centre (BMC), 69 beds have been dedicated for COVID-19 patients. BMC is the only COVID-19 hospital in Naya Raipur with liquid medical oxygen (LMO) tanks.

With BMC turning into a COVID-19 facility, it is open to all public and provides tele-consultation and ambulance service. It is also undertaking COVID-19 prevention, treatment and clinical research, apart from performing vaccination, RT-PCR testing, anti-bodies testing, and convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19 patients.

Balco Hospital at Korba has conducted over 10,000 COVID-19 tests, while more than 3,500 residents have received the vaccination at the hospital. In addition to the hospital in Balco Township, the company has tied up with four private hospitals in Korba and Raipur to ensure well-being of the employees. PTI SID HRS hrs